Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

Archive for February, 2009

Day 8: Penny’s Excellent Adventure

[This is part of my ongoing diary about my SRS experience in Trinidad, Colorado with Dr. Marci Bowers. See the main page here: Penny’s Excellent Adventure.]

7:19 AM:

Last full day in the hospital. I can’t wait to get out of here. I feel better today, it’s that gradual up-hill climb to recovery. I’m already out of bed sitting up; I’ll probably go for a walk when Jayme and Sarah and Wendy get here. My fever seems to have really abated and I’m feeling pretty damned good; I can’t wait to see how I feel once they let me out of this little pressure dressing.

On a semi-unrelated note, I’ve finally found a sleeping pill that actually helps me sleep and doesn’t seem to have any side effects: Ambien. I could see asking for a script for it from my PCP when I get home (my insomnia can get really bad).


10:40 AM:

Just got my surgical certification letter from my doctor’s office. This is the letter that I will use to change my social security info and my birth certificate. My favorite part is the end: “Accordingly, all documentation should reflect this individual’s current and final genital status of female.” Yay; I’m “official.”    lol


11:35 AM:

Definitely feeling better; I’m watching Futurama and laughing almost hard, which hurts a little, but feels really good. This sure is an arduous process, though worth every sceond of it. I’m very happy to be feeling so much back to myself already. What an amazing thing. The hospital is getting a little tiresome, but everyone here has been amazing. The folks out here are lovely.


12:15 PM:

The spontaneous tears have finally started today. I’m by no means “over” with this process, but things are very different than they were five days ago. It’s starting to sink in: I have the proper body. Nearly everyone in my world has been brilliant and gracious and understanding, and they’ve seen me as a woman for quite a while now, but there is no denying that making this physical change makes things different – for everyone, even me. And so, because I’m me, and because things have really started to actually sink-in today, my eyes have started to leak random moisture of joy. Yay.


1:28 PM:

So, I just went for a walk outside! It is lovely outdoors. I really needed to see the sun and feel the fresh air on my face. I am so happy I could fly!


2:55 PM:

Just took a shower; it’s very nice to feel clean. It sure took a lot out of me, though. Whew, I’m tired.


6:18 PM:

So, pretty tired today. I didn’t nap much and I was bouncing around the hospital quite a bit all day. I hate healing, I want to get better right now – I’m so impatient.It’s amazing to realize that in less than three months I’ll be basically healed (full healing can take up to a year or more {as I know from my gallbladder surgery}). 

Sarah and Wendy made it out today. It was great to see them, as my entire contingent of folks that had made the journey out with me have now returned home. It’s really great to have such amazing friends.

This is truly an amazing surgery to be able to have. I already feel so much more relaxed and peaceful in my body as it now exists. I no longer have to talk about “my penis” or euphamisms there of. I am just so happy.


7:25 PM:

It’s funny how much like a pre-pubescent girl I feel. Nurses are having to teach me and my room mate things about having a vagina in the same way that older women will teach young girls. Weird. They’re all very sweet and lovely. I feel like I’m getting that sort of physical-education into womanhood that normally happens during puberty. Nobody teaches boys how to use their stuff; it’s juat like: “Hey, figure that thing out on your own; you might even have some fun as you go.” Vaginas are definitely more involved, even when menstruation isn’t involved, and it feels great having had this collection of brilliant women help me as I learn about my new body. Very cool.


8:13 PM:

I won’t mind getting out of this hospital room and away from this damn squeaky clock!

Day 7: Penny’s Excellent Adventure

[This is part of my ongoing diary about my SRS experience in Trinidad, Colorado with Dr. Marci Bowers. See the main page here: Penny’s Excellent Adventure.]

6:30 AM:

Ooh boy, bed pan. Pooping in a bucket in bed is sort of gross.


9:30 AM:

Had to poop again, and they actually let me get out of bed and go potty. Getting out of bed felt amazing. My IV is done, and those damn compression things are off my leggies. I’m feeling considerably less pain than yesterday, which is pretty cool. Yay, I’m on the mend!  🙂


10:39 AM:

Up again, this time sitting in the chair next to the bed. Have I mentioned how much I hate bed rest? Jayme’s here, and if I’ve ever had a better friend I’m not aware of it; she is just such an amazing woman and friend. I know this process has brought up some difficult emotions for her, which makes her being her for me all the more special.


11:34 AM:

Just took a walk around the hospital. I am really feeling so much better today. I hate how weak you get after just a couple days of bed rest. I caught the first glimpse of my labia (that’s pretty cool!), the left side is a little swollen, but still – ~my~ labia. Damn. Yay. Thank God. 🙂

I’m pretty wiped out from the walk, so I think I may just sleep for a little bit.


1:25 PM:

And the IV is out – yay!


4:19 PM:

So, I mentioned that my left labia was a litte swollen, well I had to have it re-wrapped with a little bit of a pressure dressing. It seems like it’s no big deal from what everyone has said. By wrapping it tightly it helps the skin graft to really get absorbed, I guess.


7:00 PM:

Just talked to Tim for a little bit; let’s just say that he is about as cute and sweet as he could possibly be. I don’t want to share exactly what he said, but tonight while we were on the phone he said something just all sorts of special. I am so lucky I found him. I love him so much.  🙂


8:10 PM:

And now I have a fever (101.6), so I just got some Motrin. That’s a really common reaction for me to have after a physical trauma. I’m not worried, but I hate fevers, especially when I’m stuck in bed.


9:47 PM:

Seems like the Motrin helped a ton, the fever seemes to have really broken. Now for another night of sleeping through Futurama.

Day 6: Penny’s Excellent Adventure

[This is part of my ongoing diary about my SRS experience in Trinidad, Colorado with Dr. Marci Bowers. See the main page here: Penny’s Excellent Adventure.]

1:00 PM:

Little bit of a late start today. There’s more pain today, though not unbearable by any stretch. I have taken morphine a couple times today. I got a real breakfast and lunch, and I’m drinking like a fish. All goes well.


6:30 PM:

So, definitely more pain today, but I expected that all along. I’m not a good patient, I’m actually quite impatient. ha ha


11:50 PM:

Just a really boring day stuck in bed watching Futurama and Star Wars. I get to get out of bed tomorrow; I can’t wait.

Day 5: Penny’s Excellent Adventure

[This is part of my ongoing diary about my SRS experience in Trinidad, Colorado with Dr. Marci Bowers. See the main page here: Penny’s Excellent Adventure.]

4:12 AM

Up, dressed, and about to leave for the hospital. As my mom just said: “It’s finally here.” And, as I said: “Thank fucking God.” Wow, in like eight or nine hours I’ll be done. Yay.


6:18 AM:

I’m at the hospital, in my bed. I’ve had my vitals taken and I think I’m basically prepped for surgery. I have yet to hva emy IV put in, but I think other than that I seem pretty ready. I’m guessing my surgery will be around 8:00-ish or so, which means I should be out of surgery by noon. Thank you again to everyone who has sent their hearts, thoughts, well-wishes, and prayers in the last few days – it really means more than I could possibly ever say.


6:25 PM:

So, I’m awake enough to be blogging, I think I handled surgery pretty well.  🙂  According to my doc I was a “challenge,” but everything apparently looks great. Yay. Jayme is here, Alana is here, and Mom is here, and it just feels amazing. I’ve talked to Tim a few times as well – wow I miss him. Jayme got me flowers that are the same kind of flower she had in her bouqet at our wedding (star-gazer lillies; they’re gorgeous); that just seemed so sweet and lovely beyond belief. My mom got me roses and a little Hello Kitty balloon and a balloon shaped like a foot that says, “It’s a girl!” My mom rocks (actually, right now lots of people rock). And how cool is that Alana came all the way out here for little other reason that to be here for me Alana got me an amazing card that says: “Is There Anything You Can’t Do?” Wow, eh?

I did have one little hiccup when I took some Toradol for pain and it made my Blood Pressure crash (Jayme was really worried). I was totally out for a couple hours. After those couple hours, though, I felt much better and much more lucid.

My doc came in and talked to me shortly after I woke up. She kicks major ass; I definitely made the right choice coming out here to teeny Trinidad, CO to see this surgeon.

Mom and Jayme are hanging out with me now. I feel simply amazing. 🙂


6:56 PM:

Just saw that Comet Lulin will mke its closest approach to Earth today, February 24th. Even the heavens are celebrating for me.  😉


8:10 PM:

Mom and Jayme and Alana just left; I’m fixing to settle in watch some Star Wars movies. And get a good night’s sleep for the first time in a week.  😉


8:48 PM:

And now I’m crashing for the night.


Thanks again to everyone!

Day 4: Penny’s Excellent Adventure

[This is part of my ongoing diary about my SRS experience in Trinidad, Colorado with Dr. Marci Bowers. See the main page here: Penny’s Excellent Adventure.]

7:50 AM:

Off to add Jayme to the rental car and then stop at the Trinidad State Junior College bookstore (there are rumors that they have stuff with the logo “TS” {“transsexual” – though I’m sure they mean “Trinidad State”}), and then we’re off to the doctor for my pre-surgical visit. I am overflowing with emotions; this is pretty much the culmination of everything I’ve ever wanted. Um, wow. I never really believed that I would ever get here. Wow. Just. Wow.


12:00 PM:

Sitting in the doctor’s office – pre-registered in the hopsital and giddy as all hell!


2:04 PM:

Back at the hotel from the doctor’s office. I’ve pre-registered at the hospital, had blood drawn, and just gotten myself about as giddy as I could possibly be. I have to start the annoying pre-surgical routine known as “bowel-prep” soon, drinking a yucky liquid and poopin’ my brains out. Fun.

I’m the first surgery tomorrow, so I have to be at the hospital at 5:00 AM. That’s awesome; I wanted to be the first surgery so I would be done that much earlier.

I got some stuff at the Trinidad State Junior College bookstore, a couple t-shirts and lounge pants; they’re cute.

While I was in with my doctor she got a call from MTV! It was very slightly annoying to have a doctor called out of the room during our consult, but c’mon, for MTV? That’s kinda cool. The doctor was very nice, and I really feel good about her as my surgeon (which I knew already, and that’s the reason I’m here). 

The guy who drew my blood was really sweet, too. We had a nice chat and I didn’t even feel him stick the needle in when he was drawing the blood.

All-in-all I have an amazing feeling about this.

And I have been amazed and humbled by the out-pouring of love and well-wishes and prayers from more people than I imagined would care so much about me; I am truly blessed. Thank you all.


5:30 PM:

Yay, Alana is here and just hung out for a little bit in my hotel room! How awesome is it that I have such amazing friends that are willing to travel so far for no other reason than to be by me side as I go through this? Did I mention that I’m blessed?


5:46 PM:

“Bowel prep” isn’t all that fun, but it’s not nightmarish either; I’ll certainly be empty by the time morning rolls around.


10:00 PM:

And here I am, getting ready to settle down for a scant 4-ish hours of sleep before I’ll get up and get to the hospital at 5:00 AM to be admitted and have my long (~very~ long) – awaited GRS. I think my brain has finally wrapped itself around the fact that this is actually happening. I am not sure I can find the words to express my joy right in this moment. Today saw lots of giggling and lots of (very happy) tears; my emotions are flowing wildly, and I am feeling so much warmth, so much peace, so much happiness.

I’m gonna wrap for the night with my favorite chant from The Crossing:

“Bless the Lord, oh my soul, Hallelujah

Bless the Lord, oh my soul, Hallelujah…”

Day 3: Penny’s Excellent Adventure

[This is part of my ongoing diary about my SRS experience in Trinidad, Colorado with Dr. Marci Bowers. See the main page here: Penny’s Excellent Adventure.]

8:29 AM

Up and getting ready for Capulin Volcano. I’m feeling a little fatigued, so I think after the volcano hike I might try and take it easy for the rest of the day – maybe actually explore Trinidad a little before going into Mount San Rafael Hospital on Tuesday morning (tomorrow will be spent largely at the doctor’s office and in the hotel room doing bowel prep {how exciting}).

Climbing the volcano was the thing I was most excited about doing in the “tourist” fashion as soon as I found it. How cool is that? I’m climbing a volcano?

12:38 PM

Jayme and I just climbed the volcano. I should be clear that we circled the rim and descended into the crater; we di not not scale it from the bottom of the hill (that’s not allowed, actually, and I think it would have been beyond both of our levels of fitness at this altitude). This was just magnificent; the views were stunning, and hanging out with Jayme is always special. I am so grateful to have her in my life, and to have had her in my life; Jayme is a truly special person (to quote a mutual friend: “Jayme rocks”). My fear of heights got to me a little as we were circling the rim, because there are points where there is very little seperating the “paved flat path” from quite a tumble down a very steep volcano. But we trudged on, and it was an absolutely incredible experience; I will never forget my trip to Capulin Volcano.

5:57 PM

And now we’re back at the hotel after lunch at K-Bob’s Steakhouse and Salad Wagon. I had barbacued chicken and sausage; it was okay – certainly better than dinner last night.

We drove around Trinidad a little, checked out Main Street, on which everything was closed, and the Dr.’s Office and hospital. I’m really spoiled living near Boston, one of the medical capitals of the world. Mount San Rafael Hospital is ~tiny~. Like, really tiny. Like, seriously, really tiny. But I have faith in my surgeon and I have heard nothing but positive things about the hospital and its staff, so, it’s tiny. Oh well. I’ll try to let go of my “Big City Girl” prejudice. 🙂

8:43 PM

Well, that was an interesting dinner. The food tonight was excellent. We went to Rino’s, for my last meal before surgery; tomorrow I will be on only clear liquid, and then on Tuesday I have surgery. I had a Ribeye steak that was cooked perfectly and seasoned just right; Mom had a pork shank (there was some sort of Italian name for it that I forget) that was amazing (Jayme and I tried a little of Mom’s); and Jayme had Chicken Florentine, which she said was good. 

The dinner started to get interesting when my mom accidentally called me “he” for the first time in I can’t remember how long. Let me say that my mom has been incredibly accepting and supportive about my whole transition; but to have her slip two days before my surgery just sort of sucked. And at the same time, I have to understand that my mom doesn’t believe in actually “dealing” with things, and so it wouldn’t be surprising if she had some unresolved issues regarding my transition that would surface as I approach surgery.

Dinner got more interesting when the owner of the restaurant (who was also one of the “Singing Waiters,” and was generally lovely and quite gregarious) came and sat down with us and asked, “So what brings you to Trinidad?” Um, take it mom. So my mom bullshitted with the guy a little, but it felt really awkward. I don’t really care about outing myself to people, I just didn’t feel like it tonight.

But what really put dinner over the top was when one of the singing waitresses decided to sing “Think of Me” from Phantom of the Opera. My first dance at my wedding with Jayme was “All I Ask of You” from Phantom of the Opera. Jayme started crying during “Think of Me,” and I felt like crawling under the table. I’m not even sure why this made me feel so completely like an absolute dirt-bag, but it did. And it got worse, becuase they did exactly work to “Think of Me,” though no one sang it, it was just instrumental; and then the CD skipped, so we were spared the full-length version of the tune. I don’t know, I’ve pretty much always said that Jayme was collateral damage in my transition; I never meant to hurt her, and yet I did – probably as much as she could have been hurt. I guess I don’t feel “guilty,” but it sucks. Here’s this woman, who at this point has re-become one of my absolute best friends, supporting me through my transition like no one else could, and I just have to have the hurt that she went through thrown in my face two days before surgery.

It sort of feels like tonight was much more of a “trial by fire” than I was expecting for my last per-surgery meal. I guess nothing can ever be easy.

The food was good, though.

I’m really looking forward to just get on with surgery at this point.

And I miss Tim like fucking mad!

I really didn’t want to include this in a blog post during this week of all weeks but…


Day 2: Penny’s Excellent Adventure

[This is part of my ongoing diary about my SRS experience in Trinidad, Colorado with Dr. Marci Bowers. See the main page here: Penny’s Excellent Adventure.]

7:51 AM

We’re up, we’re pretty well rested, and we’re showering (not together – lol). I think we’re making the trek back to Colorado Springs today to see Pikes Peak, the Seven Falls Waterfalls, and hopefully one or two other things. This is pretty much the most exciting time in my life ever. Hooray.


12:57 PM

So, the Seven Falls were a little frozen, though there was some flow. I’m pretty addicted to water, whether frozen, flowing, or vaporous. It was a bit chilly; the cold here is different than back home; the dryness seems to make the cold go through to my bones in a way that it doesn’t in Boston. Jayme and I climbed the 185 stairs to the lookout next. The air is really thin here, we were both gasping when we were halfway up the stairs. I took a bunch of pictures, and it was just lovely. I would love to see it again when the falls are roaring.

Now we’re at a restaurant called the Mason Jar, recommended by one of the women that worked at Seven Falls. I’ve already embarrassed Jayme, and my mom’s already embarrassed me; it’s off to a typical meal.



Back from the Garden of the Gods and snug in our hotel room after a pretty poor meal at Blackjack’s Saloon in Trinidad; we should have eaten in Colorado Springs, we’ve had great meals there. The Mason Jar was very good at lunch, but dinner was … well … a disappointment.

The Garden of the Gods, on the other hand, was simply stunning. I was blown away by the gorgeous rock formations. Jayme and I walked around quite a bit and had a bunch of fun. My mom wasn’t up to hiking so she stayed in the car. 

We got back to Trinidad and hit Wal-Mart and then Blackjack’s, where everything took too long, they were out of baked potatoes, and the steak and salmon were very over-cooked. Hopefully we’ll find better local grub tomorrow, as we’re not planning on heading back to Colorado Springs.


Overall, though, it was a great day.

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